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6 Common Decor Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them

John Howard / Digital Vision /

John Howard / Digital Vision /

Not everyone can be an interior design school grad, and some of us just weren’t born with a natural eye for décor.

But that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a life of off-scale, iffy-looking rooms. Take a look around your home—see if you’re guilty of committing any of these decorating faux pas. If so, it’s okay: the first step is admitting that you have a décor problem!

Too-High Pictures
If you’re ever standing in a room that just feels off, but you can’t quite pinpoint why, pay close attention to the height of the artwork. When photos are paintings are hung too high, it can knock an entire room off balance.

To correct the visual mess, remember the number 57: the center of your artwork should hit exactly 57 inches above the floor. Check out our picture hanging tips to avoid any other common blunders.

Orphan Rugs
If you have an area rug floating in the middle of your floor like a desert island, then you need to do a little adjusting. Area rugs should be anchored by a piece of furniture: for instance, the area rug in a living room might be slightly tucked under the front of the couch. This creates a more aesthetically pleasing look that draws the room together.

Of course, this means that you need to pick an area rug with your furniture size in mind. Don’t be afraid to go big, otherwise it could look like you are trying to cram oversized furniture into the room.

Décor With No Heart
Décor should have meaning: it’s what makes a space your own. If your artwork and decorative accessories look like stock images, it’s time to give your space a personal makeover.

Look for art and accessories that you’re positively drawn to. Photos, artwork, and mementos from your favorite travel destinations are a great place to start. Don’t forget to tie in the people that you love: for instance, a montage of old black and white photos of your parents and grandparents is as one of a kind as it gets.

Theme Overload
Decorating around a theme can be fun, but it’s a blurry line between tasteful and tacky. This can be especially tricky when the theme you’re working around completely contradicts the architecture of the home.

Avoid going overboard by using accents to express your theme, not major pieces of furniture. Pillows, artwork, and decorative pieces are often enough to incorporate the theme, plus they are easy to swap out, should you get tired of the look.

Attack of the Beige
Make a mental list of the rooms in your home and the color of paint on the walls: if more than 80% of this list is beige, then it might be time for a color intervention.

We’re not suggesting that you bust out the primary colors for your formal dining room, but a little color can go a long way. Accent walls in sophisticated hues like navy and aubergine can make a formal dining room, for example, feel more luxurious than any fancy dining table could. If you must stick to neutrals, at least mix up your beiges with off-whites and greys.

Carpet on Carpet
We have already discussed the orphan carpet, but there is more to be said on the topic. While we agree that an area rug can add warmth to a room, there is such thing as too much carpet: if you’ve got an area rug over an already carpeted floor, then you’re heading towards overkill territory. Limit area rugs to areas with non-carpeted flooring, like hardwood or tile.

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